Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants who are living in the US illegally, but have committed no other criminal offences could be protected from being deported under a change of policy that is currently being considered by Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security.
If adopted following a review which was ordered by President Barack Obama, the change could limit the deportations of people who have little or no criminal record other than immigration violations. The potential move, which has been confirmed by sources close to the review, would still fall some way short of the sweeping changes that have been demanded by immigration activists, who want the President to expand a two year old program which grants work permits to undocumented immigrants who were children when they arrived in the United States.
The US Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s former acting director, John Sandweg, says that the policy change had been proposed by him prior to his exit from the position in February and that Johnson is now weighing the proposal. An immigration advocate, speaking anonymously due to the confidential nature of the proceedings, has also confirmed that the idea is under consideration.
“Any report of specific considerations at this time would be premature,” says Clark Stevens, the Homeland Security Department spokesman. He went on to add that Johnson has “undergone a very rigorous and inclusive process to best inform the review”, including seeking the input of lawmakers from both major political parties and from representatives within the DHS.